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Janco: GTA IV Could Reach 6-9 Million In First Week Sales

Is the recent success of Halo 3 a sign of things to come for Take-Two's GTA IV? In his latest report, Janco Partners' Mike Hickey says the $300 million opening week is a sign of "an accelerating and rabid franchise fan base" -- a crest that
Is the recent success of Halo 3 a sign of things to come for Take-Two's GTA IV? In his latest report, Janco Partners' Mike Hickey says the $300 million opening week is a sign of "an accelerating and rabid franchise fan base" -- a crest that GTA seems poised to ride. Hickey estimates 4.4 million Halo 3 units sold in its first week, noting that the figure corresponds to a 67% attach rate to U.S. Xbox 360s and 46% for Europe and the U.S. combined. That's far higher than the 3.3 million units Halo 2 sold in its first three weeks -- a mere 30% attach rate to the U.S. Xbox installed base at the time. "It’s our belief," said Hickey, "that the dramatic increase in initial sales and attach rate from the most recent iteration of the Halo franchise is a reflection of an accelerating and rabid franchise fan base, a current market thirst for compelling high quality content, and this iteration’s early cycle release." The market, says Hickey, could be underestimating the success of the forthcoming GTA IV, adding, "we believe the GTA IV sales potential should benefit relative to the Halo 3 release window from a considerably larger Xbox 360 installed base and the addition of a PS3 SKU." "Importantly," he continues, "Halo 3’s initial retail success was in a non-holiday release period, which could mitigate some investors concern over GTA IV’s non-seasonal release period. In addition, GTA IV sales should also benefit from fewer new game releases in Spring ’08 versus Halo’s pre-holiday Sept ’07 release window." Saying that even anticipating a 20% attach rate for GTA IV was exceedingly conservative, Hickey noted that while it may not reach the 46% rate Halo 3 achieved, even a 30% attach rate would mean first week sales of 6.2 million units -- far above Halo's own. "If the upcoming release of GTA IV attached at the same rate as Halo 3," said Hickey, "the title could conceivably ship 9.5 million units of game in the first week, producing an astonishing $466 million in sales," concluding that the title, despite the delay, could have a "profound impact" on Take-Two relative to current financial projections.

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